I think that there are very few ministries as strategically important to the growth and health of your church like your children’s and student’s ministries. Senior leaders need to invest time, effort and energy to make these ministries cornerstones of what your church “does” to serve the community. My kids are 11 & (almost) 13 and we’ve benefitted from Family Ministry people working with our kids over the years. Today’s post is written to Family Ministry people from the point of view of a parent … I think these are some areas that every church could improve as they work with families:
- Over-communicate // We’re busy and we have a lot of information from a lot of different places coming our way. If we don’t know what’s going on in Family Ministry please don’t blame us … just send us more information! Don’t send us important information through just one channel … surround us with information about what’s going on if you want us to hear it!
- Put the cookies on the bottom self. // I have to admit it … talking to my kids about spiritual things is hard. I need you to go way out of your way to make it a lot easier for me to have these conversations. You’re not talking down to me … you’re serving me by helping give me the words to start the conversation. Have you heard of Chick-fil-a’s Dad & Daughter Date night? Could you make it as easy as that?
- Pain-free Check in // Thank you for worrying about the safety of my kids. I’m glad you have a way to ensure that my kids get checked in and that the right kids get back with the right adults at the end of the service. But can you make that process less painful? We rush on Sunday morning’s to get to church (sometime we fight in the car on the way) … and I really want to get into the service. Can you reduce the need for us to wait in lines? What about some sort of self check in process?
- Make Stuff Affordable // We love coming to your events and retreats and camps. Sometimes it’s a real stretch to afford everything that you are putting on. How could you make your programming more affordable for everyone that attends our church?
- Don’t Just Program Us … Pastor Us // I see a lot of singers, dancers & actors in your program … but who do I talk to if I need help with something happening within my family? My kids’ school has a really great counseling department that I can reach out to if we’re struggling with something but it’s not clear to me that anyone at the church is around for that sort of help. You know about raising kids not just running programs … who can I talk too if I need some help?
- Don’t Over Program Us // Before you add another thing for our family to attend … can you take some time to see if you can accomplish your goals with an existing program? We’ll come to the stuff you’re doing because we love it … but we have a lot going on and another program at the church doesn’t always feel like a blessing! 🙂
- Have Small Group Leaders Talk To Me // I know that every weekend you have small group leaders at church that interact with my kids because they talk about how cool they think they are. Thanks for making that a part of the ministry! Is there anyway I could actually talk with their small group leader sometime? I’d love to get to know them a little bit better … they’re having a huge influence on my kids and I’d like to just talk with them from time to time.
- Listen // How could you take time to listen to what we other parent’s are saying? A quick survey at check in? Pull parents out during a family event for a quick small group discussion? Call us and talk? I’m cheering for you from the sidelines but I’d love to feel like I’m a part of the team!